Originally written on Rock the Red  |  Last updated 5/18/12
Washington_capitals_v_aee4

As the 2011-12 season has come to a close, the time has come to evaluate what it meant for the Capitals, both as a team and as individuals.  As such, as the summer progresses, I will be writing a report card, or individual evaluation, for each player who played in 9 (~10%) of the team's games, or 4 playoff games. Next up is rough and tumble defenseman John Erskine, who completed his sixth, and most frustrating, season in the Capitals organization this year.

Season Summary: During this campaign, Erskine suffered through by far the most turbulent season in a Capitals uniform.  After being injured at the start of the year, he was in and out of the lineup for a prolonged period before finally being yanked for basically the remainder of the regular season in early February.  Overall, Erskine posted zero goals, two assists, a plus-three rating, and 51 penalty minutes in 28 games, the second fewest he has ever played at the NHL level.  Erskine also had the sixth-best even strength corsi rating among Capitals defensemen (-5.07) who played more than 20 games, and he did it against the second-easiest competition on the team. Grade: C-

Role Play: John Erskine is a guy who is on your team to hit people and clear out the front of the net.  He's not offensively gifted, he's not a shot blocker.  He's a low-end sixth defenseman/healthy scratch.  That's what he was this year.  When Erskine was in the lineup, he was physical, he was mean, and he was tough.  He cleared people out in front of the net and he hit people.  But that's what is expected of him, and it's not particularly valuable to this team, or any team, really.  Nevertheless, he did what many people pegged him for heading in to this season, which was, quite frankly, not much. Grade: C+

Playoffs: Erskine saw action in four playoff games, compiling a single assist, a minus-one rating, and zero penalty minutes.  He also had the second worst corsi rating (-21.35) at even strength, but this time, he did it against the toughest competition among Capitals defensemen.  I thought Erskine's playoffs were not that bad, all things considered, but his insertion into the lineup, it seemed, was almost always a reactionary move.  He was big and physical against big and physical teams, so I don't slight him for that.  But the fact remains that he simply isn't a very good defenseman, particularly in Hunter's system because of his lack of shot blocking skills. Grade: C

Future Potential: Erskine has one more year left on his contract at a minimal salary cap hit of $1.5 million.  That's not a ton, but it's not even close to ideal for a defenseman who plays fewer than 30 games.  With the uncertainty surrounding Dennis Wideman, Mike Green, and John Carlson, who are all free agents in some capacity this offseason, I expect Erskine to stick around.  If (when) Wideman leaves via unrestricted free agency, and Green and Carlson stay put as restricted free agents, as I expect them to, that would leave one lineup spot, which I would hope would be filled with Dmitry Orlov, meaning Erskine would be the 7th defenseman once more.  For someone who will be 32 at the end of June, Erskine's career arc is firmly trending downward.  Don't expect much from him this year or in any years after that.  Grade: D+

The next report card will feature center Cody Eakin.

As always, follow me on Twitter here for news and updates.

GET THE YARDBARKER APP:
Ios_download En_app_rgb_wo_45
MORE FROM YARDBARKER

Jim Brown: I ‘encourage and support’ Johnny Manziel

Vincent criticizes NFLPA over spending millions on lawsuits

MLB urges Supreme Court to deny San Jose's A's appeal

Jeanie Buss: Phil Jackson loves the Twitter criticism

Vikings RB McKinnon: If I had a fantasy team, I'd take myself

LIKE WHAT YOU SEE?
GET THE DAILY NEWSLETTER:

Report: Kings have had discussions with John Calipari

De’Andre Johnson charged with misdemeanor battery

Russell Wilson on salary: If it's $25M or $1.5M, I'll be ready to go

Luke Ridnour reportedly traded for fourth time in a week

Scottie Pippen: I was LeBron James before LeBron James

Report: Marc Gasol only visiting with Memphis Grizzlies

Diamondbacks are contenders, but team's direction is unclear

Selecting the 2015 American League All-Stars

Jim Harbaugh is recruiting a prospect he once babysat

Conan makes Marshawn's wildest dreams come true

Brett Favre dons Packers jersey, says, 'I think I could still play'

Bo Knows, Bo Goes: Wisconsin feels pride and pain

Popovich won't call free agents at midnight, he'll be in bed

Joe Buck explains why he quit Twitter

Should the White Sox and Indians become sellers?

Fan bases most deserving of a Super Bowl 50 win

2015 NBA Draft grades: Eastern Conference

Report: Redskins urged by major group to change team name

NHL News
Delivered to your inbox
You'll also receive Yardbarker's daily Top 10, featuring the best sports stories from around the web. Customize your newsletter to get articles on your favorite sports and teams. And the best part? It's free!

By clicking "Sign Me Up", you have read and agreed to the Fox Sports Digital Privacy Policy and Terms of Use. You can opt out at any time. For more information, please see our Privacy Policy.
the YARDBARKER app
Get it now!
Ios_download En_app_rgb_wo_45

Selecting the 2015 AL All-Stars

NBA Draft grades: Eastern Conference

Under the radar NBA free agents

Michael Sam, boyfriend broke up?

Mickelson linked to money laundering?

Reminiscing on 'Love & Basketball' 15 years later

Selecting the 2015 NL All-Stars

The Sixers' latest horde

Projected landing spots for NBA's top free agents

MLB changes format for Home Run Derby

Revis to work out with Patriots DBs

Peterson: I'm still NFL's best RB

Today's Best Stuff
For Bloggers

Join the Yardbarker Network for more promotion, traffic, and money.

Company Info
Help
What is Yardbarker?

Yardbarker is the largest network of sports blogs and pro athlete blogs on the web. This site is the hub of the Yardbarker Network, where our editors and algorithms curate the best sports content from our network and beyond.